Friday, October 1, 2004


Jeannie Phillips captured the image of Boomer's kayak ride.

Efforts finally yield list
of dog-friendly beaches

Reaching a sandy stretch of beach to be greeted by a sign that reads "No Dogs on Beach" can be a major disappointment for residents who want to enjoy Hawaii's great outdoors with man's best friend.

To help those planning outdoor adventures, the Hawaiian Humane Society has published a list of more than 100 Oahu beaches that allow leashed dogs. The list shares little-known locations from Hawaii Kai to Haaula.

Dog days at the beach

For those ready to head for a day at the beach with their canine, the humane society offers a few tips on beach etiquette:

» Dogs must be on a leash at all times.

» Dogs in estrus (heat) should be left at home.

» Dogs should be vaccinated and healthy.

» Keep close supervision of your dog.

» Take your dog home at the first sign of unfriendly behavior.

» Dispose of your dog's waste.

» For a list of dog-friendly beaches online, visit the Web site www.hawaiianhumane.org/programs/

Some beach parks prohibit dogs, but it is allowable to pass through to get to a dog-permissible beach, as long as the most direct path is taken.

"We encourage the public to practice commonsense courtesies," said Pamela Burns, Hawaiian Humane Society president and CEO. "Owners should maintain control of their dog at all times and abide by Oahu's leash laws."

There are also a number of partial-access locations. That means that dogs can enjoy the sand between their paws -- as long as it's wet sand. Locations such as Sandy Beach in Hawaii Kai allow dogs, but only below the line of debris marking the high-tide line.

"While the line of demarcation is rather subjective, the point is that dogs in these locations are fine to be in the ocean but should really be kept out of the dry sand area, where there can be picnickers and sunbathers," Burns said.

In 1999 the Hawaiian Humane Society set out to find an authoritative list of places where leashed dogs are permitted, but it was determined that no such list was available through county or state agencies.

"Our members were as stunned as we were that no list existed," said Burns, who spearheaded this project in 1999.

"Enjoying Hawaii's shoreline is part of island life, and with dogs in more than 35 percent of Oahu households, the community should have this resource," she said.

In 2000 the society met with legislators and City Council members, and even formed a Dog Beach Taskforce to address the need. Little progress was made and more doors closed than opened. For a time it seemed that this list would not see the light of day.

Laurie Foster's Chihuahua Champ enjoys a day at the beach. Both these doggie photos are part of the Hawaiian Humane Society's 2005 "Pets in Paradise" calendar.

In 2003, humane society volunteer Alvin Sasaki offered his services. He began to wade through a complex ocean of ordinances, state and city laws on beaches and parks, and other critical details. Acting upon guidelines provided in an opinion by the Corporation Council, the county's legal authority, each beach was studied to determine whether it is owned or managed by the city or the state, if the beach is on state unencumbered land and if the beach fronts a park owned by the state. He headed for the Title Research City Real Property Offices for a week of research and found that the answers to where dogs are allowed were hidden in the tax maps.

"This list was born out of painstaking research, dogged tenacity and a lot of community collaboration with entities including the Honolulu Police Department, state Department of Land and Natural Resources and even lifeguards," Burns said. "It is hard to imagine many places a dog is happier than at a beach. Whether running around on the sand, jumping in the water, digging a hole or just lying in the sun, every dog deserves a day at the beach."

"Pet Ohana" runs the first and third Fridays of the month. The Hawaiian Humane Society is a nonprofit agency dedicated to preventing cruelty to animals. They are at 2700 Waialae Ave. Call 946-2187.

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